Everything is better topless. That’s just a fact. It’s certainly the case when it comes to sports cars. Sure, many will argue losing the roof makes the car less rigid and therefore slower.
But when you’ve got the roof down and the background blurs past, it feels like you’re going about a million miles an hour. Not to mention driving with no roof is about as glamorous as it gets. Let’s not forget the first racing cars were open-topped machines.
So when I heard Mercedes-AMG were chopping the roof off the GT coupe I immediately had thoughts of early Silver Arrows. Well those and the late SLS Roadster. A Mercedes convertible with an AMG engine to listen to? What’s not to like?
Any ideas you might have of the GT’s roofless sibling as being a ‘softer’ version or a ‘hairdresser’s car’ should be dismissed as Mercedes-AMG aren’t faffing around with this. Powered by the same 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 as the GT, the Roadster gains some power increases over the Coupe. Even the standard GT Roadster comes with 476hp/350kW, a 16hp/10kW increase over the GT Coupe. This car has the F-Type R Roadster, Porsche 911 Cabriolet, and Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster in its sights.
The range topping GT C is a whole new variant that sits in between the GT S and GT R coupe in terms of performance. Pumping out a 560hp/410kW and 680NM of torque, the GT C is 50hp/35kW more powerful than the GT S Coupe and only 32hp/20kW short of the GT R.
The extra power in the Roadsters are there to compensate for the weight gain from the roof mechanism and extra body reinforcements such as thicker side skirts and extra support struts behind the dashboard.
Still, the GT Roadster is still good for a 0-100 km/h time of 4 seconds flat and a top speed on the exciting side of 300 km/h. Not bad for a 1595kg soft top. The 1660kg GT C Roadster can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in 3.7 seconds and can go all the way to 316 km/h. Both the GT and GT C have reworked 7-speed dual-clutch gearboxes.
Mercedes says the 65kg weight difference between the GT and GT C Roadster is due to the latter having more standard equipment fitted and a four-wheel steering system. In addition, the GT C gets some of the best bits from the GT R Coupe such as a 57mm wider rear track (thus resulting in a wider bum), an AMG Performance exhaust system with variably adjustable flaps for more noise (as if AMGs didn’t already have enough of that). The GT C also has AMG Ride Control with adaptive damping.
Another GT R carryover is the ‘Panamerica’ grille, something I’m still on the fence on. I’ll reserve judgement until I see it in person but I think the grille on the AMG GT/GT S would’ve been a more elegant look.
Everything else is pretty much carried over from the AMG GT, including the interior. The main difference is of course the soft top roof which can be opened and closed in 11 seconds and at speeds up to 50 km/h. Perfect for the constantly unexpected New Zealand weather.
So, the AMG GT Roadster is slightly more powerful but also a bit heavier than the AMG GT Coupe. But with the no roof and being able to hear its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine in full surround sound, would you really care? I wouldn’t.
Also, from the side and the back it’s an undeniably gorgeous car. The more I look at it and the more I imagine the noises this would make with those variably adjustable exhaust flaps the more my mouth starts to water.
And if you’re wondering how does this fit in to Mercedes’ seemingly never ending range? Well sure, they also sell another two-seater convertible in the form of the SL but whereas that’s more a comfortable and refined grand tourer, the GT Roadster is still at the end of the day a super-sports car.
Think of it like this; the SL is the sort of car you could drive through continents on motorways and Autobahns. The GT Roadster could make the same trip but instead it’ll make you want to drive on mountain roads instead.
Our market should be getting the AMG GT Roadsters sometime in 2017, most likely towards the end. The AMG GT Roadster will get their public debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show later this month.